KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Themes and characters can make a child's Birthday costly, but you can get creative and save quite a bit of money.
One of the biggest ways to save is look for what you have lying around. I had a couple of large cardboard boxes that were transformed into the shape of a train. Plates became wheels and "lights" on a "Birthday Crossing" sign.
The photo prop train is made out of cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, duct tape, and poster board. The wheels are plates covered in sections of a black plastic table cloth.
Simply printing signs and gluing them to construction paper are very affordable ways to carry the theme through every section of the party.
Examples of train theme DIY signs:
"Logan & Friends"
TRAIN SHAPED CAKE
Instead of buying special cake pan that I will use one time and have to find a place to store until I finally admit I'll never use it again, I got creative with materials I already had. I baked the cake in a square cake pan and a soup can. Yes, I simply wash the can and checked on it several times. (It took about 20 minutes in my oven for can.)
Once the cake has cooled, cut the square in half. You'll use one of the halves to stand at the end, and trim off excess. Cut a thinner slice of the cake for the base under the can shape too.
I used gum drops for the wheels and licorice type candy to add 3-D lines. I highly recommend gel icing to add small details to a cake. It's very easy to use and you can make fine lines.
I also added paper straws to small disposable loaf pans, 3 for $1 at the dollar store. These served as the "train cars" behind the train cake, with cupcakes on the cars.
Potential savings here comes down to easily $100. (Custom cakes are pretty expensive.)
To see these projects and more, click on the "Pinspiration" board on Heather's Pinterest page, http://www.pinterest.com/wvltheather, or Erin Barnett's Pinterest page at http://www.pinterest.com/wvlterinbarnett.